vintage by villa maria

Vintage by Villa Maria: getting down and dirty with the heroes of harvest

Winemaking is a labour of love. For those on the ground, romantic notions of sniffing barrels and stomping grapes are a stark contrast to their reality. Vintage by Villa Maria is a wine documentary with a difference. The film explores the trials and tribulations of a single harvest from the perspective of Villa Maria’s people. Filmed across 40 days it explores their motivations, passions and the unique challenges they face. In a style attractive to wine lovers and regular folk, Vintage balances new-found admiration with excitement, education and sheer grit.

Dr Loosen: exploring Ernie’s refreshing outlook and new ideas

There are few more colourful, vivacious and spirited individuals than Ernst Loosen. Those who have spent any amount of time with him will know well the personality of which I speak. Since the 1980’s he has produced world-class Riesling from the Mosel to Washington State, experimented with Pinot Noir in Oregon and shared his knowledge as far afield as New Zealand. Ernie is an innovator, he pushes boundaries, but most of all he rejects defeatism. Despite a host of existential challenges, with an open mind and curious inquisition Ernst has continued to evolve. I spent an evening exploring this refreshing outlook …

Natural wine could be a problem: might the emperor need his robe?

We’re all familiar with Andersen’s 18th century tale turned popular idiom. The emperors subjects daren’t speak their truth for fear of being branded stupid. It takes the unrestrained tongue of an outspoken child to declare the Emperors obvious nudity. Natural wine can be a funky old place (no pun intended) What started life as a well-intentioned, philosophically-sound approach to holistic viticulture and winemaking may have past its use-by date. Narcissism of small differences, an undertone of pontification, lack of definition and a determination to overlook faults may leave the emperor feeling a little exposed. In this article I explore the issues as I see them.

English wine: discussing the challenges of a growing supply

UK volume sales of both still and sparkling wine are in decline. Analysts predict still wine sales will fall by almost 11% over the next five years. However, consumption, production and planting of English wine are all increasing. 2018 production bottle equivalent is up by circa 180% with hectarage under vine increasing by 83% since 2015. It is predicted there are roughly 7-8 years of U.K. sales currently in stock with around 55% of plantings having no wine currently for sale. Considering market decline, assuming the market is one of monopolistic competition, and noting only 8% of English wine is exported, supply is grossly outstripping demand. How will this excess supply impact the market and how should it react?

The glass matters, science says so!

We’ve all experienced it, the inevitable barrage of questioning, jovial taunting and understandable confusion upon the expression of revulsion, frustration and dismay toward the choice, or offering, of wine glassware. It’s easy to see how to many this seemingly strange aversion may appear pomp, confusing and unnecessary; however, there’s more to it, stay with me. Anecdotally the majority of us have experienced the enhanced olfactory experience that the ‘right’ glassware can make, but there’s more to this than anecdote. Let’s talk about the science …

PerUS; an exploration of ethos and quality

Bold and pure with velvety tannins. I asked Katya Kurtbek (Director of Sales and Marketing) to describe PerUS in a few words as possible. After tasting through their 2017 vintage, I can confirm that she hit the nail on the head. This small-production, quality-focused Napa winery is a star in the making. We spent the afternoon with Tatiana Livesey (Brand Ambassador) getting to grips with PerUS …

Napa Valley; a perspective on vintage at 67 Pall Mall

43,000 acres of planted vineyard, 400 wineries (95% family owned) and 16 sub-AVA’s. Napa Valley is the epitome of diversity. The region sees the annual hosting of the prestigious Premiere Napa Valley. Premiere is a showcase, the ethos is that wineries offer a one-off wine style to trade-only bidders. Each year, prior to Premiere Napa Valley, Napa Vintners hosts a perspective on vintage. This year, Emma Wellings PR, working with Napa Vintners, offered this unique perspective tasting to the UK trade at 67 Pall Mall.

Traversing the minefield of influence: helping the beverage industry spot the fakes and optimise their online spend

In 2019, the number of social media users worldwide tipped 3.5 billion. Social media penetration rate reached a global average of 45%, with some Western nations reaching as high as 92%. Alongside this explosion in social media use has come a remarkable growth in influencer marketing, the industry is on track to be worth $15 billion by 2022. But all is not well. Studies suggest fake social media influencers will cost companies $1.3 billion in 2019. If brands as big as the Ritz Carlton and L’Occitane have been duped, what hope do individuals and organisations, large or small, in the beverage industry stand? Well, hopefully I can help …

Can I still sip with you? Talking Instagram, influencers, and expertise.

Last week I shared my thoughts on haphazard labelling and the need for better collaboration in the wine world. Following this, my friend, and peer, Charlotte, introduced me to Sarah, who had enjoyed the article. Fuelled by a glass of Albarino, a quiet apartment, and miserable Miami weather, Sarah develops upon the topic. She talks #youcansipwithus, the need for sensible criticism, and self-reflection …

Influence, it ain’t all bad.

Since our migration from the plains of Africa, humans have influenced one another. The unprecedented growth of the internet has drastically amplified the reach of this influence, so much so that monetising one’s influence is now a sought-after occupation. But the associated title (Influencer) is loaded, overflowing with negative connotations. In the wine industry, individuals are haphazard labelled influencers, and their work, in turn, stripped of credibility. This is a HUGE mistake. Non-established new-age influence (when done properly) can, and does, work in harmony with established professional content to fill strategic voids. I think it is time that we drew some battle lines and recognised the roles we all have to play in this ever-changing industry.